Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Squirrely Weather Moves Our Way: If You Don't Like the Weather Just Wait a Few Minutes
Earl the Squirrel in Goodland
I had a great workout this morning. I am not the only one. Apparently the squirrels have been busy making final preparations for real winter weather. Heidi Cobleigh was kind enough to send this picture in to verify it for us. Earl looks friendly but is quite healthy-looking and hefty. Is he trying to tell us we have lots of snow on the way? That is what the Hoosier proverbs say. The bigger the squirrels, the heavier the snow.
Randy the Reynolds Squirrel
Chris Fullerton sent this picture in of Randy to help us out. Randy looks like he has been lifting weights and it looks like he agrees with Earl. Look at those biceps! Well, it is important to have a sense of humor when forecasting the weather in Indiana. No, I do not really use squirrels to forecast, but I do try to keep an open mind as to how nature's creatures are responding to the weather. Was it a coincidence last year that some squirrels were dragging big chunks of pumpkin pie into their hide-aways before the blizzard hit? Maybe or maybe not. I do know that animals like humans are closely tied to the weather and it has a big impact on behavior. Do you know humans have a much bigger appetite when the pressure is higher. So you may want to look at the barometer before you plan your next meal. So today I will give the squirrels their due. They are on to something. We are in for a wild pattern! Let's take a look at it meteorologically!
We have a powerful jet stream moving across the Midwest at well over 100 mph and a polar vortex rotating around Hudson Bay. At the same time we will have a building ridge in Alaska. This is usually a stormy and colder than average set up for the Midwest. So say goodbye to the 50s we are having today and by morning it could feel about 40 degrees colder with brutal wind chills in the lower and middle teens.You would think eventually this pattern would produce some snow. It eventually will but I think later rather than sooner. The big chunk of arctic air in the blue you see above will come at us in pieces and I do not think the bulk of it will move our way until later next week. Then we will be in business for some sledding weather. In the shorter term here are the main threats as we head into this weekend.
This weekend the big wintry storm will still need to be watched closely. If it comes in early enough Saturday there could be a few hours of sleet, freezing rain, and snow across our area. But at this time it looks like any big icing problems that could develop will likely stay in extreme northern Indiana and up near Chicago. Heavy snow is looking more likely in Wisconsin. If Lafayette does see a wintry mix it will likely change to rain pretty quickly with a tremendous amount of warm air advection. This is due to a storm track that is expected to stay to just to our northwest. This means we will be on the warm side of the storm as you can see above. These tracks sometimes waffle during the week but the latest consensus of the many different weather models we use is that everything is heading west. This means the big green area you see over us has the making of a good old-fashioned soaker with over an inch of rain likely. I will keep you posted on this squirrely weather. Tomorrow, we will see what the sandhill cranes are thinking about all this and have a more detailed Lafayette Christmas Parade forecast. Have a great day!